I’m reading this book, called Beatles vs. Stones, by John McMillan. It’s been a fun telling of the times when the two bands overlapped during their histories.
The New York Library is having a debate, with Mike Meyers and some other folks facing off on this hot issue, on February 27th, at Lincoln Center.
In anticipation of that, Gothamist has a post today declaring the Beatles clear winners, by comparing three truly awful late Stones songs no one has ever heard of to Revolver, Abbey Road and The Beatles. It’s worth listening to the Stones songs just to make the question somewhat more interesting.
For my part, I listen to the Stones much more than the Beatles, even records I played out decades ago, but without specific criteria it’s a tough choice between them. Seems likely the Beatles were the more creative while bridging the transition from early 60s pop forms to rock, while the Stones were more influential twisting blues and r’n’b forms into rock and pop music going forward into the future.
In any case, giving the Stones demerits for continuing to write material, no matter how crappy, long after they could have stopped trying, doesn’t seem fair. Especially when the other guys, the non-aligned Beatles, made plenty of crap music as solo artists. But it does make me wonder why the Stones they didn’t recognize how awful so much of it was and have the self-respect to bury it. Could their taste have become that rotten?
That Sex Drive song/video made me laugh out-loud. Why is the early stuff of 99 out of 100 bands best while the late stuff sucks? There are exceptions and sort-of exceptions, but the only band I can think of that truly got better (and finished with their best album) is The Raspberries. And they stopped after four albums. By eight they surely would’ve sucked too.
I vote Beatles, by the way.